Mingled with this odd swirl of diffidence and cheekiness, of grandiosity and self-effacement, was the tendency among female mystics to take physical self-punishment to brutal extremes. Catherine overcame her revulsion at a cancer patient’s fetid sore by drinking a cup of the pus it discharged, and she was famous for her drastic fasting — she often inserted sticks into her throat to make herself vomit after eating. Bridget of Sweden poured hot wax on her flesh. St. Clare of Assisi slept on the floor in wintertime and fasted three days each week during Lent. “The men had work to do, so they didn’t have time for a lot of penance and suffering,” Noffke says. “Women were not to be seen, not to be heard, but they could suffer.” Priests tended to glorify suffering in women, and encouraged it in their confessions.
See also, Scout Parré-Phillips x Valie Export x Leslie Jameson, Tortures and Torments of the Christian Martyrs: From the De Ss. Martyrum Cruciatibus of the Rev. Father Antonio Gallonio, and Saint Agatha.